greystone psychiatric hospital

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Standing tall and proud for over 130 years, placed directly at the end of a long drive up Central Ave in Morris Plains, New Jersey, stands Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. This beautiful treasure is currently being demolished.
Greystone’s doors opened on August 17th, 1876 and closed in 2008.
Greystone is one of New Jersey’s Kirkbride buildings. She had the largest foundation of any building in the United States until the Pentagon was completed in the 1940s. 
Thomas Story Kirkbride, pioneer of the Kirkbride plan, said, “There is no reason why an individual who has the misfortune to become insane, should, on that account, be deprived of any comfort or even luxury.”
Greystone was designed with the best intentions and although her past is dark, happy history isn’t the only history worth remembering.
I could go on forever about how incredible this place is. It is absolutely devastating to see it go.
Chris Christie has deprived many generations the privilege of visiting this historic landmark, a grand piece of the history of mental health. I truly feel sorry for those of you that were not able to see this beauty in person. 
This is my favorite place in the entire world.

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Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital as of October 14, 2015

A wonderful piece of history left in the most pitiful ruins. The demolition company working on this building had such difficulty breaking into admin that their machinery broke. The building was made with NO intention of demolition, making it almost impossible to knock it down. Really just heartbreaking to see a place that could’ve stood forever being taken down into nothing. At least it didn’t go without a fight!
Photo: "Through the Eyes of a Patient"

Many patients admitted to psychiatric facilities in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s did not actually need mental health care. Many patients exhibited symptoms of laziness, hysteria, religious enthusiasm or other health conditions, such as menopause, leading doctors to believe the patients were mentally ill.

Once admitted, the patients would be placed in a single or double room, with one or two beds and a single window through which they would gaze upon the world. Most of us can’t even begin to imagine how devastatingly lonely that would feel.

One of my favorite places in the world, Greystone Psychiatric Hospital. Now with a big ugly fence around it because Chris Christie wants to tear it down, despite the fact that it costs $35 million to do that and companies offered to restore it and turn it into apartments and shops for FREE.

Photo: Female Violent Ward Collapse
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When the outer wings of Greystone Park Psychiatric closed in the 1970’s, a plan to protect the roof was never implemented and after experiencing many years of extreme East Coast weather, the decay has become dangerous.

The hospital completely shut down in 2008 after a new hospital was constructed behind the original campus. Sadly, this beautiful historic stone building is slated for demolition later this year.

If you follow my photography or blog, you’ve likely heard how devastated I am that this beautiful, former asylum has met its demise. When I took this photo, I was standing in a corridor that is now merely a memory. 

People often ask me why I shoot these locations and this building right here is a perfect example why. I first photographed this hospital 6 years ago and I returned last year for a second time. Here we are one year later and nothing remains but a small center section of the building. These places are vanishing rapidly and I want to be there to document as many historic sites as I can. 

Photo: "Preserve Greystone!"

In July 2008 Greystone Park Psychiatric closed and the remaining patients and Administration Offices relocated to the new facility less than a mile away.

Since then, the state of New Jersey has been deliberating over the best course of action for the decaying hospital. In the last few years, a group known as Preserve Greystone formed and has been advocating for the preservation of the massive Kirkbride building, along with hundreds of historians, preservationists and nearby residents.

Sadly, the state has not even entertained contracts of up to $100 million to restore the facility, but instead have chosen to demolish the building using $50 million of taxpayer money. Sometime later this year, the building will be demolished and over one hundred years of history, stories and medicine will be nothing more than a memory.

Hallway inside Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey. 

Sadly, in a few months, this asylum will be nothing more than dust. Abatement has already begin inside this massive Kirkbride building. 

Within four years of this facility opening in the late 1800′s, the hospital was already accommodating 800 patients, though it was only designed to care for 600. At the hospital’s peak, in 1953, Greystone housed over 7,000 patients, many soldiers suffering from PTSD post World War.